Road to Small Basic 1.3 Blog #1 – Exploring New Logos

This is part 1 in a blog series that takes us down the road toward Small Basic 1.3!

  1. Road to Small Basic 1.3 Blog #1 – Exploring New Logos – This blog!
  2. Road to Small Basic 1.3 Blog #2 – New Mascot


In the Small Basic team, we have a great designer, Ram, who is helping us explore new logos.

Please keep in mind that these logos are currently being used for internal Microsoft projects. We aren’t finished yet.

That said/written, we welcome your feedback! Please leave a comment below!

Here is our current logo:


Our Small Basic Community Council member, Liam, had a fantastic futuristic version that modernizes the ideogram/symbol:


Small Basic carries on the Logo turtle graphics tradition, and so we wanted to combine that into our new logo (by featuring a turtle shell ideogram). But I have to say that I was very passionate about the previous “stepping stones” / “building blocks” motif that Vijay originally had. However, as the logo simplified, the building blocks began to look like a diamond-style hexagon (a flat shape). That’s how I originally interpreted them… as gems.

Our first version of the turtle-shell-style ideogram centered on four colors, to map into the Microsoft windows ideogram:


Our artist, Ram, went with a crayon-style text for “Small Basic” to show it’s a fun language, also done in the Microsoft logo red.We liked that version, but we wanted to see one that felt more like a turtle shell pattern and a little less like a classic light and sound game that rhymes with pie-man. =^)

The next version focused on the blue and green colors (since red and yellow was in the text and line on the right):


The line was added as the slogan “Kids Can Code” was added below it. It’s true, Small Basic is also for teens, adults, and anyone who wants to learn one of the most complicated things on our planet (syntax-based coding) in the simplest and most fun and social environment that currently exists… Small Basic! I, for one, would have preferred to have learned on Small Basic when I was in college. However, at the same time, the biggest need for such a simple way to learn text-based programming (did we mention that Small Basic is extendable to hardware like Arduino, Oculus Rift, Raspberry Pi, and Kinect, as well as 3D graphics and physics for games?)… is currently for students after they learn block-based conceptual programming and before they learn programming languages built by adults for adults (like Java, Python, Ruby, and C#). Thus, “Kids Can Code”. But we think adults will see it simply as “Programming for Dummies.” If it’s built for kids… then they can learn it too!

The next experiment was to see how it looked with the original logo’s building-block pastel colors:


That was a little bright and cheerful. =^)

Next we looked at some mixes of the Microsoft colors again. Here the emphasis is on red and yellow:


And here the emphasis is on red and green:


And this one focuses on green and blue:


And this one focuses on yellow and blue:


And next it was up for something a bit different. This one pushes more back to the Microsoft logo’s ideogram/symbol:


That one looks a little bit target-like, and we wanted the turtle aspect. Here is a version of that, with the “SB” in white:


And here it is with the “SB” in black (and borders in white):


And that leads us to where we’re currently at! We found the white borders in the shell to give it a nice feeling of negative space. Regardless of where the final logo lands, we’re getting some great use out of it at Microsoft! Special thanks go out to Ram.

Please leave a comment with your thoughts!


Small and Basically yours,

– Ninja Ed


See Also

This is part 1 in a blog series that takes us down the road toward Small Basic 1.3!

  1. Road to Small Basic 1.3 Blog #1 – Exploring New Logos – This blog!
  2. Road to Small Basic 1.3 Blog #2 – New Mascot
Comments (17)

  1. Tryhest says:

    the last one is the clearest and best))

  2. Thanks Tryhest. That’s where we’re at, currently. Next we’re experimenting with the text on the right.

  3. have a seven color lago ROYGBIV and United Nation blue at center ” Human Programming” with thanks

    1. Haroon, this program failed to load for me. Can you load it okay?

      Online it also gives an error:

      1. pappalapub says:

        ROYGBIV (no ID, but 7 rainbow colors: Red, orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet)

  4. Tryhest says:

    now i made a desktop gadget like new sb logo clock ticking… ZPX036

    1. This is so good, Tryhest! I wanted to share it, so I packaged it up here:

  5. Tryhest, that’s cool!

    I love it!

  6. pfm says:

    I really like the handwritten “Small Basic” text. Gives it a really friendly character that was missing from the old logo. (the old logo felt excessively “corporative”).

    However I don´t think the icon part fits in at all with the “friendliness” of the text. The distorted “SB” feels a bit aggressive and even old fashioned. I think you should go with a more hand drawn feel for the icon part as well.

    1. Thanks. That’s good feedback on the written text. I wasn’t sure if the handwritten text feels too “young” or not.

  7. YLed says:

    My favorite one is :×142.jpg

    for the impact of color,
    clarity of design,
    the font use : Comic Sans MS
    I like especially Small Basic written in bold character , this attracts the eye.
    that’s my choice 🙂

    1. It is good, but that reminded us of the game Simon.

  8. UPDATE: I added some more text to explain more of the thinking in each step.


  9. Matthew L. Parets says:

    I don’t like the “Kids can code” line. Adults might be able get past the stigma that this was made for little kids, but anyone from the 6th grade one would be completely turned off by the idea that this is “Kid Stuff”. I can say this with a certain amount of authority dealing with teenagers every day. The parents of said teens will also be turned off by this. There would be a push to stop using SmallBasic in the Intro courses and to move into a “real” language like Python.

    “Anyone can code” would get the idea across without alienating a large chunk of the intended audience.

    I love turtle logo though . I think the second to last one is the most intriguing (minus the “kids can code” of course).

    1. You never know. For example, what’s the #1 selling Python book? For awhile, it was a book titled “Python for Kids”. And it was actually written to 16 year olds! =^)

      And the top purchasers were actually adults who bought it feeling like it was a “Python for Dummies”, which is pretty accurate to how it’s written.

      That mentioned, yes, we’ll keep that in mind.

    2. Logo thoughts… yeah I love that one too. I think the consensus landed on the one with white boarders…

      We found the white borders in the shell to give it a nice feeling of negative space. It seemed to feel more inclusive, in a subconscious way.

      But I think with the dark gray borders, that one seems to hold more power to it.

      Thanks, Matthew!

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